Monday, April 27, 2009

India = Punjabi?

A thought provoking column on the Indianization of Punjab. No, not actually. It is about the Punjabisation of India by Vir Sanghvi. It is a thought I have a expounded on here, off and on though I think the story has a few more layers.

Take dresses for instance. For women, the two dominant dresses are Sarees and Salwar Kameez. The latter leads the former by a long long margin in general. It can be said that the Salwar Kameez dominates, by and large. The sari, on the other hand, (a fascinating history here) is a more South Indian affair - indeed the most popular style now, the Nivi, is from AP.

Breakfast is mostly dominated all over India by Idli, Vada, Dosa and the occasional Puri. Though, lunches and dinners are surely Punju. The infernal Paneer Butter Masala which usually has none of the 3 ingredients in the name is consuming all other cuisines in the name of lunch. Snacks are dominated by chaat, bhelpuri, samosa though here a good vadapav can give all of them a run for their money. (Datta, Joshi, are you listening?)

Festivals, well, no. There is an Akshaya Tritiya attempting a migration to North while a Karva Chauth is migrating South (per Vir, I dont 'gree).

But yes, you cannot ignore a layer of homogenization happening across India...
Undoubtedly, Hindi films are a good reason for this spread.

More later.

6 comments:

Aadisht Khanna said...

I think Vir Sanghvi has got it badly wrong in this column. Claiming that Punjabi culture is becoming dominant in India because Shah Rukh Khan is playing characters with Punjabi names is like saying that black culture became dominant in America after blaxploitation movies. The Punjabi characters in Bollywood hardly have any resemblance to real Punjabis. For that you have to see the old B R Chopra movies.

neelakantan said...

Precisely. Anything filmi is exaggerated. Vir could have actually put it as a layer of homogenization happening across India - mostly "middle class" I presume...Does Punju culture dominate - no way, not yet - except in Salwar Kameez and PB Masala.

Nilu said...

None of what he claims happens in Madras. Except perhaps Salwar Kameez. Which, Wikipedia suggests, is from Afghanistan -- so, if anything, India is getting Talibanised by his own logic.

This Vir Sanghvi must be given some award for random generalization that makes no random sense even.

neelakantan said...

The random award?

kupamanduka said...

Salwar Kameez may be considered more convenient than sari, Pavadai-davani, half-sari ( though the latter three are, in that order, sexier ). Similarly idli, vadai etc. tie in better with the Indian concept of a light-but-non-trivial breakfast.

But there are many changes happening for which there seem why is it that names ending with a tamil "an", like yours, are becoming a rarity? And similarly why do most north Indian city dwellers eat rice with spoon rather than hand as opposed to south Indians? One can keep building conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory if one keeps searching for regional changes in preference.

simoncadbury said...

so this means the most lively people in india are from punjab? right?

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